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As 2023 Nears Its End, Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party Grapple with Daunting Poll Numbers

Facing a formidable challenge as the new year approaches, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak finds himself in a precarious position. Recent polling data paints a stark picture for the Conservative Party, indicating a substantial lag behind the opposition Labour Party led by Sir Keir Starmer.

A survey conducted by People Polling for GB News reveals Labour holding a commanding 22-point lead over the Conservatives. The poll showcases Labour at 45% support, with the Tories trailing far behind at 23%, and the Reform Party at 10%. This data underscores Sunak’s struggle to reverse the Conservatives’ fortunes after a tumultuous year in the polls. More than half of respondents, 54%, express feeling worse off than a year ago, while two-thirds believe it is time for a change in Westminster.

Political analyst Professor Matthew Goodwin interprets the poll as not only indicative of Labour’s strength but also highlighting a concerning defection of Conservative voters to the Reform Party. Goodwin suggests that Sunak’s tenure as Prime Minister may be in jeopardy if he fails to make headway on critical issues such as illegal immigration and the cost of living crisis. Voters perceive Labour as more robust on economic matters, leaving the Conservatives with the task of convincing their base that they can effectively address immigration concerns.

Further compounding Sunak’s troubles, a poll of Conservative Party members conducted by ConservativeHome reveals a sharp decline in Sunak’s net satisfaction rating to -26.5, the lowest ever recorded for a sitting Prime Minister. While Cabinet ministers like Kemi Badenoch and Penny Mordaunt maintain popularity among the Tory grassroots, Sunak faces discontent from within his support base.

Critics, including Reform UK leader Richard Tice, attribute Sunak’s unpopularity to a perceived failure to uphold true conservative principles. Sunak has grappled with maintaining party unity, particularly on contentious issues such as the Rwanda deportation policy. Tice and others sense an opportunity to attract disenchanted Tory voters, exacerbating the electoral challenges facing the Conservatives.

Amid speculation that Sunak might call a general election as early as May, the latest polling signals significant trouble for the Conservatives. After a year marked by turmoil and internal discord, voters appear eager for a change in direction.

Sunak must swiftly enhance perceptions of both his leadership and his party’s ability to address crucial issues like the economy and immigration. Failure to do so could result in a brief tenure in 10 Downing Street. The Conservatives are confronted with an immense challenge to regain ground and narrow the widening gap with Labour in the coming months.”

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